Bolton Wanderers' £100 million 'Middlebrook Masterplan' deferred
COUNCILLORS have deferred a decision on Bolton Wanderers’ controversial £100 million sport, education and office development — to see what the traffic implications of the scheme might be.
At an extraordinary meeting of the planning committee yesterday, members discussed plans to upgrade and reconfigure Bolton Arena, expand the west stand of the Reebok and build a new, free sports academy on Burden Way.
The so-called ‘‘Middlebrook Masterplan" proposal, submitted by Burden Leisure who own Bolton Wanderers and the Bolton Middlebrook Leisure Trust, also includes plans for up to 2,500sq metres of office space.
The plans have attracted criticisms from some of Bolton Council’s high-profile development partners, including the Emerson Group and Bluemantle.
Emerson representative Graham Bee said the proposals were at odds with their plans to develop office accommodation on the Horwich Loco Works and would further impact on traffic on the area.
A report in the possible repercussion of the Loco Works development on the highways network is due to be released before Christmas.
He said: “We are in favour of the sporting and educational principle — our concerns have been centred on the ancillary developments.
“If you decide to approve, we still have serious concerns that the highway network would struggle with the increase in traffic from the offices and housing accommodation.”
Richard Gee, speaking on behalf of Wanderers, explained time was of the essence for the club.
“To spend another three years talking makes life very difficult for us”, he said.
“We struggle to see how this proposal at an outline stage cannot go forward, and we struggle to set out in any more detail what the benefits to the borough and local residents would be.”
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But Cllr Nick Peel moved to deferred making a decision until planning officers were given the chance to assess the traffic report, which was supported unanimously.
He said: “I have concerns about the transport assessment – it would offer an overall picture for the area.
“I understand the developers’ responses but it doesn’t need to take that long for this to come back, and when it does come back we will have a lot more information for members about the traffic impact.”
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